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Peter Norvig

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Peter Norvig
Peter Norvig in 2019
Born (1956-12-14) December 14, 1956 (age 67)
Alma materBrown University
University of California, Berkeley
Known forArtificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach
Paradigms of AI Programming: Case Studies in Common Lisp
Scientific career
FieldsArtificial Intelligence[2]
InstitutionsStanford University
Ames Research Center
University of Southern California
Brown University
University of California, Berkeley
ThesisA Unified Theory of Inference for Text Understanding (1986)
Doctoral advisorRobert Wilensky[3]
Websitewww.norvig.com Edit this at Wikidata

Peter Norvig (born December 14, 1956) is an American computer scientist and Distinguished Education Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI.[4] He previously served as a director of research and search quality at Google.[5][2][6] Norvig is the co-author with Stuart J. Russell of the most popular textbook in the field of AI: Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach used in more than 1,500 universities in 135 countries.[7]


Norvig received a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics from Brown University[8] and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.[3]

Career and research[edit]

Norvig is a councilor of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and co-author, with Stuart J. Russell, of Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, now the leading college text in the field.[9] He was head of the Computational Sciences Division (now the Intelligent Systems Division) at NASA Ames Research Center, where he oversaw a staff of 200 scientists performing NASA's research and development in autonomy and robotics, automated software engineering and data analysis, neuroengineering, collaborative systems research, and simulation-based decision-making. Before that he was chief scientist at Junglee, where he helped develop one of the first Internet comparison-shopping services; chief designer at Harlequin Inc.; and senior scientist at Sun Microsystems Laboratories.

Norvig has served as an assistant professor at the University of Southern California and as a research faculty member at Berkeley. He has over fifty publications in various areas of computer science, concentrating on artificial intelligence, natural language processing, information retrieval[10] and software engineering, including the books Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach,[11] Paradigms of AI Programming: Case Studies in Common Lisp,[12] Verbmobil: A Translation System for Face-to-Face Dialog, and Intelligent Help Systems for UNIX.[13]

Norvig is one of the creators of JScheme. Norvig is listed under "Academic Faculty & Advisors" for the Singularity University.[14] In 2011, Norvig worked with Sebastian Thrun to develop a popular online course in Artificial Intelligence[15] that had more than 160,000 students enrolled.[16] He also teaches an online course via the Udacity platform.[17]

Selected publications and presentations[edit]

By 2022, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, which Norvig first co-authored with Stuart J. Russell in 1995, was the leading textbook in the field used by over 1400 schools globally.[9][7]

In 2001, Norvig published a short article titled Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years,[18] arguing against the fashionable introductory programming textbooks that purported to teach programming in days or weeks. The article was widely shared and discussed, and has attracted contributed translations to over 20 languages.[18]

Norvig is also known for his 2003 Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation,[19] a satire about bad presentation practices[20] using Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address.

His 2009 IEEE Intelligent Systems article, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Data" co-authored with Alon Y. Halevy and Fernando Pereira, described how the best approach to highly complex natural language understanding problems is to harness large quantities of data, not to depend on "tidy", simple formulas.[8] They said that by generating "large amounts of unlabeled, noisy data, new algorithms can be used to build high-quality models from the data. This has informed the development of foundation models.[8] "But invariably, simple models and a lot of data trump more elaborate models based on less data."[8]: 9  "Choose a representation that can use unsupervised learning on unlabeled data, which is so much more plentiful than labeled data."[8]: 12  The title refers to the physicist Eugene Wigner's 1960 journal article, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences".[21]

In a 23 September 2010 lecture presented as part of the Vancouver-based University of British Columbia's Department of Computer Science's Distinguished Lecture Series, Norvig, who was then the Director of Research at Google, described how large quantities of data deepen our understanding of phenomena.[22]

In his June 2012 Ted Talk, described the fall of 2011 hybrid class on artificial intelligence attended by 100,000 online students around the globe that he co-taught with Sebastian Thrun at Stanford University.[23]

Awards and honors[edit]

Norvig was elected an AAAI Fellow in 2001 and a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 2006.


  1. ^ "Elected AAAI Fellows".
  2. ^ a b Peter Norvig publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ a b Norvig, Peter (1986). A Unified Theory of Inference for Text Understanding (PhD thesis). University of California, Berkeley. OCLC 901967025. ProQuest 303443749.
  4. ^ Lynch, Shana (2021). "Peter Norvig: Today's Most Pressing Questions in AI Are Human-Centered". Stanford University.
  5. ^ "Peter Norvig's home page". Norvig.com. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  6. ^ Peter Norvig at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  7. ^ a b "1464 Schools Worldwide That Have Adopted AIMA". Computer Science Division at UC Berkeley. Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach. 22 August 2022. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e Halevy, Alon; Norvig, P.; Pereira, Fernando (2009). Brannon, Brian (ed.). "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Data" (PDF). IEEE Intelligent Systems. 24 (2): 8–12. doi:10.1109/MIS.2009.36. S2CID 14300215. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  9. ^ a b Russell, Stuart J.; Norvig, Peter (2020) [1995]. Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (4 ed.). Prentice Hall. p. 1136. ISBN 978-0-13-461099-3. OCLC 359890490.
  10. ^ Michel, J. -B.; Shen, Y. K.; Aiden, A. P.; Veres, A.; Gray, M. K.; Google Books Team; Pickett, D.; Hoiberg, D.; Clancy, P.; Norvig, J.; Orwant, S.; Pinker, M. A.; Nowak, E. L.; Aiden, E. L. (2011). "Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books" (PDF). Science. 331 (6014): 176–182. Bibcode:2011Sci...331..176M. doi:10.1126/science.1199644. PMC 3279742. PMID 21163965.
  11. ^ Russell, Stuart J.; Norvig, Peter (2003), Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (2nd ed.), Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-790395-2
  12. ^ Norvig, Peter (1992), Paradigms of artificial intelligence programming: case studies in common LISP, Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, ISBN 1-55860-191-0
  13. ^ "Intelligent Help Systems for Unix"
  14. ^ "Singularity University list of Faculty and Advisors". Singularityu.org. Archived from the original on 13 October 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2009.
  15. ^ "Intro to AI - Introduction to Artificial Intelligence - Oct-Dec 2011". Ai-class.com. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  16. ^ Naughton, John (5 February 2012). "Welcome to the desktop degree". The Guardian via The Observer. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  17. ^ "Udacity - Design of Computer Programs". Udacity.com. Archived from the original on 13 April 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  18. ^ a b "Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years". Norvig.com. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  19. ^ "The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation". Norvig.com. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  20. ^ Norvig, P. (2003). "PowerPoint: Shot with its own bullets". The Lancet. 362 (9381): 343–344. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(03)14056-1. PMID 12907004. S2CID 34835018.
  21. ^ Wigner, Eugene P. (1960). "The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences". Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics. 13 (1): 1–14. Bibcode:1960CPAM...13....1W. doi:10.1002/cpa.3160130102. S2CID 6112252. Archived from the original on 12 February 2021. The Richard Courant lecture in mathematical sciences delivered at New York University, May 11, 1959
  22. ^ Peter Norvig (guest), UBC Computer Science (Host) (11 October 2011) [2010]. How Billions of Trivial Data Points can Lead to Understanding. Event occurs at 1:02:56. Retrieved 21 September 2022 – via YouTube.
  23. ^ Norvig, Peter (June 2012). "A classroom with 100 000 students". TED Talk. Retrieved 21 September 2022.

External links[edit]